Google has done it again. The latest update — Google Penguin — has hit many site owners hard, and some have seen their page rank drop by the dozens.
Google’s newest update has taken aim at the quality of a site’s back linking strategy. Sites that had a large number of poor quality links suffered the most. Poor quality links can include link exchanges, directories, unrelated blogs or websites, and blogs or websites that are of poor quality (including a lot of spammy content).
Penguin favors sites that have a wide variety of back links, including links from quality sites that have related content.
In evaluating a site’s back link profile, the latest Google update also places an emphasis on the anchor text used to link. Sites that favored exact match keywords for their anchor text were penalized. Those that included a variety of keywords — including the name of the site, the URL, and general terms like “click here” or “blog post” — fared much better with the update.
If your site took a hit in the latest Google update, there are a few things you can do to improve your link profile and help your site to rank well again. Even if your site did not take a hit from Penguin, it’s still a good idea to evaluate your link profile to ensure that you are on the right track and aren’t setting yourself up for a hit when the update refreshes.
Here are a few tips for evaluating and managing your link profile to keep your site out of Google Penguin’s crosshairs:
Check Your Analytics
Your web stats will show you the source of your back links, giving you a good starting point for evaluating your link profile. Make a list of all your links and note their source. Typically, examples of poor quality links can include:
- Parked domains
- Links in footers
- Consecutive links with no descriptive text
- Links from unrelated or low-quality sites
Note which links are quality and which are likely to be viewed unfavorably by Penguin, then calculate a percentage for each. Typically, sites that have seen their page rank drop after Penguin had at least 50 percent of links that were considered poor quality.
Remove Poor Links
Once you identify where your poor back links are coming from, you can start contacting the site owners and asking to have them removed.
If you submitted your site to a directory or an automated link exchange, this should be relatively simple. You should be able to log in and remove your site yourself. However, if you asked a site owner to link to your site, or if a blogger just liked your site and decided to link to useful content, it may be harder or more awkward to have your link removed.
Simply send an e-mail to the site owner and politely ask to have your link removed. Keep your request short and to the point. If the site owner declines — there have been some reports of site owners “ransoming” the links for pay — simply forward your e-mails to Google and report your attempts to have the link removed. Team members will evaluate your report and take action as necessary.
Diversify Your Links
Of course, the easiest way to offset poor quality links is to build up a large number of quality links. Even if your site is linked to a handful of directories or other spammy sites, you can build up a larger percentage of links to high-quality, related sites. You should aim for at least 60 percent of your links to be from top-quality sites in order to avoid penalties.
Try to get organic links from sites with a high page rank within your niche.
Diversify Your Anchor Text
While it may be tempting to use exact match keywords that you are targeting in all of your anchor text, doing so can actually get you penalized by Penguin. Instead, be sure that you are including a variety of anchor text in your links.
When you are able to control your anchor text, try to include your brand name or URL more often, or use generic terms like “go here” or “see this post.” If you are not able to control the text used — such as when others link to your content for reference or when you are dealing with older links — simply contact the site owner and ask if the anchor text can be changed.
A site owner who appreciates your content enough to link to it probably appreciates it enough to respect your desire to increase your page rank.
While the Google algorithm is always changing and is likely to change all the rules once again, doing what you can to stay on top of the game will help you to maintain your page rank throughout the changes. For now, evaluating the source of your links and ensuring that you are getting enough back links from high-quality sites within your niche will help you stay off Penguin’s radar.
Remove any links that would negatively impact your site and use a variety of anchor text for your links.
If you follow these steps, you’ll manage to make it through Penguin — maybe only long enough until the next update comes out. Then we’ll all be scrambling to figure out the next move!
Note: I’ve edited this post and I deleted the data of the guest blogger, because she didn’t follow up the comments done on the same, according to what was agreed before posting it, even after sending posterior emails to her, with zero feedback in return.